Libyan bishop criticizes military action


Vehicles belonging to forces loyal to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi explode after an airstrike by coalition forces, along a road between Benghazi and Ajdabiyah, Libya, March 20.

March 28, 2011

Bishop Giovanni Martinelli of Tripoli, Libya, has criticized the decision to use military action against Col. Moammar Gadhafi rather than pursue a negotiated solution.

"I hope for (Gadhafi's) surrender, but I think that Gadhafi will not give in," Martinelli told the Italian news agency, ANSA, March 20.

The bishop said he is familiar with the Libyan leader's personality and past behaviour and believes the use of military force against him will only intensify the severity of Gadhafi's reaction.

Allowing foreign troops to launch a military offensive against Gadhafi "has given the go-ahead to the wrong strategy," he said.

More could have been done in seeking a diplomatic or negotiated solution to the crisis, Martinelli said.

"The military action was too hasty, too sudden."

Meanwhile, Pope Benedict made an urgent appeal to political and military leaders to protect the safety and security of civilians and guarantee the free flow of humanitarian aid inside Libya.

He prayed that "peace and concord would soon reign over Libya and the entire North African region."